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BC-AP Americas Digest

February 18, 2015

TOP STORIES:

IMMIGRATION LAWSUIT

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration puts its new deportation-relief program on hold on the eve of its launch, complying reluctantly with a federal judge’s order that roiled immigrant communities and seemed to harden an already-tense stalemate in Congress. By Erica Werner and Jim Kuhnhenn. AP Photos.

With: IMMIGRATION LAWSUIT-NEWS GUIDE.

FIGHTING EXTREMISM

WASHINGTON — The United States must ensure that immigrants are fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home, Vice President Joe Biden says as he opens a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization. By Josh Lederman. AP Photos. AP Video.

With: BIDEN-BEING BIDEN.

OBAMA-ARAB WORLD

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s view of the U.S. role in the Middle East and North Africa is being challenged by deepening crises in the very countries he has seen as models for his approach to the volatile region: Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. AP Photo.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE-BUSH BROTHERS

DETROIT — In public, Jeb Bush offers nothing but love and respect for his older brother, former President George W. Bush, who still divides Americans more than six years since leaving office. In private, the younger Bush notes that they’re not the same and see the world differently. By Thomas Beaumont. AP Photos.

UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA

WASHINGTON — The leader of a U.N. commission of inquiry that found North Korea committed crimes against humanity says that members of the panel are ready to go anywhere to talk to the North’s government - but it refuses to engage. By Matt Pennington. AP Photos.

DEFENSE SECRETARY-FIRST DAY

WASHINGTON — Ash Carter, sworn in as President Barack Obama’s fourth secretary of defense amid multiple global threats, pledges to offer his most candid strategic advice and carefully consider decisions about sending U.S. troops into harm’s way. By Nedra Pickler. AP Photos. AP Video.

CYBERSPY REPORT

SAN FRANCISCO — Did the National Security Agency plant spyware deep in the hard drives of thousands of computers used by foreign governments, banks and other surveillance targets around the world? A new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said its researchers identified a new family of malicious programs or worms that infected computers in multiple countries, primarily overseas. Targets appeared to be specifically selected and included military, Islamic activists, energy companies and other businesses, as well as government personnel. By Technology Writer Brandon Bailey. AP Photo.

DRONE-EXPORTS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is amending its regulations for weapons sales to allow the export of armed military drones to friendly nations and allies.

CORPORATE HACKING SCHEME

NEWARK, New Jersey — A Russian citizen pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an 11-count indictment charging him and four others with running what authorities have called the largest criminal computer hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the United States. By David Porter.

TRAIN DERAILMENT

MOUNT CARBON, West Virginia — Fires burn for hours after a train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm in West Virginia, sending a fireball into the sky and threatening the water supply of nearby residents, authorities and residents said Tuesday.

CUBA-GOING HOME

HAVANA — Returning after nearly six years, a former longtime AP correspondent in Cuba finds a more relaxed and open atmosphere in Havana along with high hopes for more changes following the agreement by Cuba and the U.S. to move toward a more normal relationship. By Anita Snow. AP Photos.

CUBA-US-POLITICS

HAVANA — A new round of negotiations to restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba will take place next week in Washington and a delegation of U.S. senators says they are hopeful the two sides will reach a deal soon. By Michael Weissenstein. AP Photo.

CANADA-HALIFAX PLOT

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — An American woman and a Canadian man accused of plotting to open fire in a Halifax shopping mall now face more charges. AP Photos.

AMERICAN SNIPER-TRIAL

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Prosecutors rest their case in the trial of a former Marine charged with killing “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and another man. AP Photos.

BRITISH TERROR SUSPECT-US TRIAL

NEW YORK — A Pakistani terrorism suspect on trial in New York was among several young recruits under orders by al-Qaida to infiltrate Western society and pull off the biggest operation since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a prosecutor says in opening statements. By Tom Hays. AP Photo.

MUSLIM LEADER-ARREST

CHICAGO — A prominent Islamic scholar and longtime head of a suburban Chicago school has been charged with sexually abusing a 23-year-old woman who worked at the school, authorities say. A civil suit filed hours later accuses him of abusing that employee and three students. By Michael Tarm. AP Photo.

FEMALE SEX PILL-FDA

WASHINGTON — The makers of a twice-rejected pill designed to boost sexual desire in women are hoping a yearlong lobbying push by politicians, women’s groups and consumer advocates will move their much-debated drug onto the market. By Health Writer Matthew Perrone. AP Photo.

MEXICO-OIL THEFT

MEXICO CITY — Slammed by a 70 percent increase in illegal pipeline taps in one year, Mexico’s state oil company announces that it will no longer ship finished, usable gasoline or diesel through its network of ducts. By Mark Stevenson. AP Photo.

HAITI-CARNIVAL ACCIDENT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — At least 16 people die in the Haitian capital after a man on top of a musical group’s Carnival float is shocked by high-voltage wires above the street, setting off a panic in which dozens of people are trampled, officials say. By Evens Sanon. AP Photos.

BRAZIL-CARNIVAL-FIGHTING RACISM

RIO DE JANEIRO — In a bid to make Carnival celebrations here more environmentally friendly, a kiddie samba school fields costumes made entirely from recycled materials. By Jenny Barchfield. AP Photos.

With: BRAZIL-CARNIVAL ACCIDENT.

MARDI-GRAS-NEW-ORLEANS

NEW ORLEANS — Revelers bundled up in winter coats with the occasional glitzy costume filled the streets of New Orleans on Tuesday for the annual Mardi Gras bash, opening a day of partying, parades and good-natured jostling for beads and trinkets tossed from passing floats. By Stacey Plaisance and Janet McConnaughey. AP Photos. AP Video.

BUSINESS & FINANCE:

REFINERY STRIKE-IMPACT

NEW YORK — Gasoline prices can spike for all kinds of reasons that make skeptical drivers roll their eyes: “tension” in the Middle East, a refinery suddenly shuts down for maintenance, or the annual springtime switch to summer blends of gasoline. By Energy Writer Jonathan Fahey. AP Photos.

EARNS-RESTAURANT BRANDS

NEW YORK — Burger King and Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International report a quarterly loss, dragged down by costs related to the deal to combine the two chains, but said key sales figures rose. AP Photo.

PORT LABOR

LOS ANGELES — The labor-management standoff that is disrupting billions of dollars of international trade at West Coast seaports now centers on the future of one man who resolves workplace disputes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. By Justin Pritchard. AP Photos.

LOWER GAS PRICES-DELAYED SPENDING

WASHINGTON — In recent months, the stage seemed set for American consumers to do what they’ve traditionally done best: Spend money — and drive the economy. The lowest gas prices in five years had given people more spending money, and hiring was surging. And yet — to the surprise of analysts — consumers have held their wallets closely. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber. AP Photos.

NEW YORK FED-STUDENT LOANS

WASHINGTON — Younger Americans are struggling to keep up with steadily-rising student debt loads, a burden that is limiting their ability to buy homes. By Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT:

TV-MODERN FAMILY-ONLINE

LOS ANGELES — How to keep the “modern” in “Modern Family” in its sixth season? Create an episode that plays out completely on a computer and in the realm of social media. That’s what’s in store Feb. 25 on the ABC comedy’s “Connection Lost,” a half-hour that revolves around Claire Dunphy’s (Julie Bowen) frantic effort to locate daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) after they squabble. By Television Writer Lynn Elber. AP Photos.

FILMING SHAKESPEARE’S CANON

NEW YORK — Playing the mad title role in Shakespeare’s “King Lear” was never supposed to be easy. That’s just what Colm Feore wanted. The classical actor chose to make his Lear “absolutely hateful” and “corrosive” for the Stratford Festival in Canada this past summer. He turned 56 in the role and his Lear, recorded on high-definition cameras, is a vigorous, fit monarch. By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. AP Photo.

ANTIQUITIES COLLECTION-ISRAEL MUSEUM

NEW YORK — Two New York philanthropists are donating a major collection of more than 300 ancient Greco-Roman and Near-Eastern glass vessels to The Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The gift from Robert and Renee Belfer was announced by the museum Wednesday. It comes as the institution celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. By Ula Ilnytzky. AP Photos.

VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME

BUFFALO, New York — The museum that houses the National Toy Hall of Fame announces the creation of the World Video Game Hall of Fame to recognize the impact games like “Pong” and “Grand Theft Auto” have on culture and society. By Carolyn Thompson.

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